David Coulthard reveals why ‘foreigner’ Frederic Vasseur has advantage over Mattia Binotto

Frederic Vasseur is the first non-Italian Ferrari boss since fellow Frenchman Jean Todt switched roles in 2009.

Ex-Formula 1 driver David Coulthard believes Frederic Vasseur can use his nationality to his advantage in his role as Ferrari team principal, with the Frenchman not having to be “culturally aware” of what’s going on.

Vasseur is the first non-Italian team principal at Ferrari since fellow Frenchman Jean Todt was replaced by Stefano Domenicali in 2008, with the Scuderia having often preferred an Italian leader in the last decade.

Ferrari as a brand are massively important to Italy, something which brings with it an incredible amount of expectation.

Being part of the Scuderia is seen as a way of life almost, with thousands of Ferrari fans typically seen storming onto the circuit following the close of the Italian Grand Prix, in what is a demonstration of passion and emotion.

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This passion, emotion, and expectations brings with it pressure, especially for the Italian who is usually leading the team, given that they understand what it means to be part of Ferrari.

With Vasseur being a “foreigner”, he perhaps doesn’t have the same responsibility to do what’s best for the brand, with his main focus being ensuring that Ferrari are the best “racing team” at the pinnacle of motorsport.

Vasseur doesn’t have the “personal interests” in the team that former boss Mattia Binotto had, for example, with Binotto having worked for Ferrari since 1995.

Binotto grew up in the Maranello environment, making it absolutely understandable why he may have felt the ultimate pressure to ensure that the Italians are successful.

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Vasseur doesn’t have that, whilst he’ll be perfectly aware how big Ferrari are, his heart at the end of the day is in racing.

Vasseur being a “racer” is arguably what Ferrari need, with the Frenchman likely to spend more time focusing on the racing, than the politics.

“As a foreigner, Fred doesn’t have to be culturally aware,” Coulthard explained to FORMULE 1 Magazine.

“He can say, ‘Guys, this is a racing team, I am the boss and this is how we are going to do it’. And it will be less about personal interests, reputations or relationships.

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“Vasseur is a racer, that’s another important aspect. Binotto was an engineer, Arrivabene a marketing man. Vasseur is not distracted by peripheral issues, he is just focused on the performance of the car.”

Of course, the season didn’t start brilliantly, after Charles Leclerc retired with an engine-based reliability issue.

Carlos Sainz at least scored the team some points in fourth, with it now being on Vasseur to quickly point the Ferrari ship in the right direction.